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Saturday, September 25, 2021
Judgment and Prediction: Signs of Instability in India
Chan Kung

India is now facing a dilemma of inflation and pressure from farmers.

Because the price of pulses soared by nearly 10% in two weeks, the Indian Union Government required states to consider invoking certain provisions of the Essential Commodities Act (EC Act)to force traders to disclose stocks and supplies.

In a virtual meeting with key state officials, Union food secretary Leena Nandan and agriculture secretary Sanjay Agarwal reviewed the production and prices of lentils. Nandan asked states to consider invoking Articles 3(2)(h) and 3(2)(i) of the EC Act, which would require shareholders, millers, traders and importers to declare inventory.

"States/UTs were requested to monitor prices of all 22 essential commodities, especially pulses, oilseeds, vegetables and milk, and to look for early signs of any unusual price rise so that timely interventions can be made to ensure that these food items are provided at affordable prices to consumers," an official statement said. The purpose of this move by the Modi government in India is obviously to control inflation. A production-oriented society usually faces such problems, just like when China started to influx foreign investment, inflation was its main challenge.

The problem is also the Indian farmers. Because the EC Act allows essential commodities to be stocked, private groups can freely store as much agricultural products as possible. This also means that certain companies in India will be able to control prices and they can buy according to their wishes.

At the same time, Indian farmers are facing pressures on both sides. Although prices of agricultural products have risen, this has been suppressed by the state. As a result, a wave of protests and demonstrations began to emerge. The farmers denounce that the Modi government is causing the death of farmers. It is reported that in 2019, 42,480farmers committed suicide and they are already heavily in debt. The farmers had had enough, but Modi added even more pressures against the farmers. Indeed, the number of suicides among Indian farmers is alarming. India's new farm laws are the last straw in the agricultural sector in India. Since 1995, more than 365,000 farmers have committed suicide.

Indian farmers have voted for the Modi government in the past. Now they are opposing the Modi government.

It is reported that 15 years ago, Bihar in eastern India also promulgated similar laws. These laws led to the dismantling of government marketing infrastructure, and the number of sales markets fell by 87%, which meant a high degree of monopoly on agricultural products. It has been reported that more than 600 protesters have been killed in the process of demonstrations. Indian military police beat and even shot the protestors in in some places.